WOW Auto Care owner David Pike commissioned this mural on the side of his Poway Road business. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
By: STEVE DREYER
The fate of a colorful mural painted on the side of a Poway Road auto repair business has been postponed for at least several months after the City Council placed it in the lap of a committee studying the future of the road.
All five council members agreed during the Sept. 20 meeting that while they like the mural, painted last May for WOW Auto Care, 12255 Poway Road, allowing it to remain violates the business’s conditional use permit and, if allowed, might set a precedent that would be difficult to enforce.
Business owner David Pike commissioned the mural. It shows various classic cars in service bays at the business. The mural contains no advertising lettering and was painted on a long wall that had previously been white. Pike reportedly paid $5,000 for the mural.
The city sent Pike a notice on June 14 that the mural was “inconsistent with the paint and design of the previously approved conditional use permit.” A second notice was mailed on July 28 saying the bright colors used in the mural were contrary to “a muted color scheme with style and texture which reflect the traditional rural character of the community and natural environment.”
Pike told the council that he had grown up in Poway and started his business five years ago in the back of his truck. His Poway Road location had been vacant for two years before he signed a 20-year lease, he said. The mural was intended “specifically for art and for the pleasure of the community,” he said.
Dolores Canizales, president of the Poway Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of both Pike and the mural.
Mayor Steve Vaus said he liked the mural, but wondered what the council would do if other businesses along the road want to follow the trend. What if a massage parlor or “head shop” put up murals containing questionable content?
“The possibility of unintended consequences scares me,” the mayor said.
Councilman Jim Cunningham took a similar view, saying doing so “pains me significantly because I really like the mural.”
City Attorney Morgan Foley said it would be hard to deny future applicants if the WOW mural was approved.
It was Councilman John Mullin who suggested that no decision be taken, but that the matter be referred to the Poway Road Corridor Study Committee. The citizen panel is in the process of evaluating possible options regarding the future of the roadway. Somewhere along the line the committee will discuss signage rules, he said.
All five council members agreed that referring the mural question.